After a break of about 15 years, Red Oak II is growing again.
Former Carthage Mayor Jim Woestman, who finished the only new home at Red Oak II last year, purchased the duplex cabins that once formed the Star Motel and Trailer Court, at Newman and Duquesne roads in Duquesne from Pedro and Alice Pantoja.
On Wednesday, Orren Tilton and his crew, with Tilton and Sons House Movers, moved the three buildings to Red Oak II in a convoy of trucks and utility company vehicles that snaked slowly around county roads for more than five hours.
The Missouri Department of Transportation required that the movers move at night and stay off the main roads, making the move last all Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.
Woestman and Red Oak II founder and artist Lowell Davis watched in the early morning chill as the homes traveled around the loop at Davis’ old village.
“It’s the ultimate high, seeing a building move in here. We haven’t moved one in a long time,” Davis said. “I’m retired from painting and I can’t afford to move houses here any more, so now there are people moving in here that can continue my dream. I think it’s great that Jim is doing that along with Larry Sernyk and Larry Frikenschmidt. They’re helping keep my dream alive.”
Orren Tilton said a crew of about 15 people, not counting the utility crews, gave up a night of sleep to help him move these homes.
That crew included three of Tilton’s sons and one son-in-law.
Tilton said he’s moved these three buildings before, but not all at once.
“These are nice little cabins,” Tilton said. “Twenty-four years ago I moved these cabins back from the corner of Newman and Duquesne so they could widen that intersection.”
Tilton said soft shoulders because of recent rain and snow made it imperative that his drivers keep the buildings on the road. Four Empire District Electric Company trucks and two crews from a local phone company accompanied the convoy, raising power and utility lines so the 25-foot-tall homes could move along.
“The route wasn’t too bad, it really didn’t throw too many tricks at us, but these things being so tall, they were awkward,” said Darren Tilton, who drove one of the trucks towing the houses. “The width was okay at 14 feet wide, and the length wasn’t too bad either at 40 feet. The height was what killed us. Once we got on the back roads it was start, stop, start, stop.”
Orren Tilton said he’s enjoyed watching and being a part of Red Oak II’s growth over the years.
Page 2 of 2 - “Lowell’s fed my family for a long time now,” Orren Tilton said. “If it wasn’t for him we wouldn’t have jobs to do. I’ve moved 13 of the buildings out here before these. This will be 16 homes and one more coming. We brought the Elmira School out here. My mother went to school in it so it’s got some history with our family going back to her childhood.”
Woestman has also purchased the small cottage that once belonged to Emma Knell that currently stands at Chestnut and Garrison avenues in Carthage and plans to move it to Red Oak II as well.
Lowell’s wife, Rose Davis, said she plans to redecorate the new buildings and offer them as a bed and breakfast for travelers.
Woestman said he’s glad to finally have the three cottages on site, but government regulations and permits made the move more difficult than it had to be.
“Lowell’s excited, everyone’s excited to get them over here,” he said. “We had some government situations and we got way overcharged to get them here because of the government regulations. There was too much paperwork and too many permits, that’s why small businesses are having a hard time because there’s too much government work.”
When asked why he bought them, he said: “I don’t have to have a reason.”
“That’s what Red Oak’s all about,” Woestman said. They became available and we figured they would fit in out here, so we bought them. When an opportunity presents itself, you take it. We’ll find a purpose for them and blend them in. They have a nice view and they’re a real nice addition to Red Oak.”